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Last Updated: Friday, 30 May, 2003, 14:03 GMT 15:03 UK
Spain's 'royal bastard' becomes prince
Leandro Ruiz Moragas
The prince is said to be the spitting image of his father
Spain's royal family has acquired a new member, after an illegitimate son of a former king won the right to call himself a prince.

Leandro Ruiz Moragas, 74, will also be allowed to use the family's name, Bourbon, after a judge in Madrid backed his petition.

The new prince is the son of actress Carmen Ruiz, a mistress of King Alfonso XIII before he was deposed and fled abroad in 1931, and an uncle of current King Juan Carlos.

I demand recognition for the privileges to which my birth entitles me
Leandro Ruiz Moragas
He stated his claim in a 2002 book, Royal Bastard, but says he held off from petitioning earlier for fear of offending the royal family.

"I refuse to remain in the obscurity that has been imposed upon me," he wrote in the book.

"I demand recognition for the privileges to which my birth entitles me and which I will never renounce."

There has been no comment so far from the royal family on the decision.

Birth certificate

The prince, who will now be known as Leandro Alfonso de Borbon Ruiz, is said to be the spitting image of his father.

He cuts a distinctive figure with his grey handle-bar moustache and unusual beard, and lives in a modest Madrid apartment.

He told Reuters news agency he did not know who his father was until he was 10 years old, but says he still has vague memories of the former king.

He insisted that he was not looking for financial gain but only wanted to use his father's name.

His claim was supported by his birth certificate, which carries Alfonso XIII's name, and details of a Swiss bank account used by the king to transfer funds to him.

Relations with the current king and queen are cordial, he says, adding that Juan Carlos already calls him "uncle".


SEE ALSO:
Spanish prince sparks royal row
03 May 01  |  Europe
King Juan Carlos: Life after Franco
20 Nov 00  |  Media reports
Country profile: Spain
29 May 03  |  Country profiles


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